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PASTOR BELIEVES SLAYING SUSPECT IS ALSO A VICTIM

If Falisha Mingnion Madera, a diagnosed schizophrenic, had received better medical care, she never would have stabbed her 9-year-old daughter to death last Saturday.

That's the belief of her pastor, the Rev. Hylda Bevans, who was present during Madera's court appearance Friday in Niagara Falls City Court.

Madera, who told police "a voice" told her to attack her daughter Kayla, will undergo psychiatric evaluation before her next court appearance Aug. 16. Judge Robert M. Restaino granted the tests during the preliminary hearing.

"She would never have done this if she were in her right mind," said Bevans, pastor of First Assembly of God Church in Niagara Falls. "The doctors did not follow through. They are not thorough enough."

Bevans believes doctors just kept medicating Madera, who moved to Niagara Falls from Buffalo in March, and never helped her get to the root of her problems.

Madera's mother, Karen Cassata, will hold a news conference at noon today outside the 98th Street apartment where the slaying occurred, to talk about her daughter, who told authorities she forgot to take her medication the day of the attack.

Madera told detectives she has been taking Zyprexa for the past four years under the supervision of psychiatrists.

During the court hearing, Madera, 25, wiped her eyes as she looked toward her mother, sitting in the front row in the basement courtroom. She did not speak during the hearing.

She is charged with second-degree murder. In a statement to police, she said she summoned Kayla into the bedroom of her 98th Street apartment about 9:45 p.m. and stabbed her five times in the chest.

Bevans, who described Kayla as "smart" and "polite" and very involved in church activities, believes that Madera did the best job she could of raising her as a single mother.

If Madera is found incompetent to stand trial, she will be undergo psychiatric care until she is determined competent enough to stand trial.

Madera pleaded not guilty during her arraignment Monday and was sent to Niagara County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

e-mail: gnorheim@buffnews.com

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